Safe Restart Agreement Response Letter: Premier of Prince Edward Island
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister:
To protect the health of Canadians, all governments continue to work together effectively to manage the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of these ongoing collaborative efforts, I am pleased to accept additional federal resources to support critical needs over the next six to eight months through the Safe Restart Agreement. These investments will help to protect public health and safety, prepare for potential future waves of the virus, and further support the safe reopening of economies across Canada.
First Ministers recognize that the Territories face distinct challenges and circumstances, which will need to be addressed separately. First Ministers also recognize that smaller jurisdictions like Prince Edward Island may require funding adjustments beyond per capita allocations.
This letter outlines Prince Edward Island's funding priorities under the Safe Restart Agreement reached between Canada and Prince Edward Island to reflect our understandings on shared objectives and the funding commitments made in the seven priority areas. This letter, and its Appendix, represents the entire Safe Restart Agreement and terms reached between our two governments.
Prince Edward Island's specific allocation and other distribution details for each priority area are also set out and confirmed in the Appendix forming part of this correspondence.
Testing, contact tracing, and data management
The goal of this investment is to help provinces and territories reach a collective capacity to test up to 200,000 people per day across Canada, as well as to improve their contact tracing capacities.
The Government of Canada will provide $4.28 billion to support provinces and territories with the costs of establishing and increasing their capacity to conduct testing, perform contact tracing, and share appropriate public health data that will help fight the pandemic. Funding and support will also be provided to provinces and territories to improve and modernize data management across Canada, to help all orders of government coordinate their efforts to contain the virus. Provinces and territories will share relevant information and data, including disaggregated data (e.g. race-based and other demographic data), to the extent possible.
Recognizing the investments made since the start of the pandemic, Prince Edward Island will continue to invest in testing, contact tracing, and data management efforts including, but not be limited to:
- continuing to enhance the targeted and strategic testing protocols, contact tracing, epidemiological surveillance, and data management undertaken by the province;
- supporting the work taken to develop in-province testing capacity, reach the current capacity of 3,000 tests per week and expand to a projected surge capacity of 5,845 tests per week;
- maintaining our aggressive approach to detection and isolation of new cases, follow-up with close contacts to break chains of transmission, prevention of outbreaks, managing the risk of importation, and facilitating isolation;
- supporting health care and other essential services workforces; and
- investing in physical infrastructure, technology, supply chain (testing equipment and consumables), and human resources to support this approach.
Testing supply and procurement data, including preliminary estimates, have been shared with Health Canada and will continue to be updated and shared by Prince Edward Island.
Prince Edward Island may also collaborate with the federal government on exposure notification and contact tracing efforts.
Health care system capacity
COVID-19 has increased the demands on health care systems across Canada and placed additional strain on mental health. This investment is intended to support the health care services and mental health supports that Canadians rely on, as each jurisdiction addresses the impacts of COVID-19.
The Government of Canada will provide $700 million to support health care systems capacity to respond to a potential future wave of COVID-19. A further $500 million will address immediate needs and gaps in the support and protection of people experiencing challenges related to mental health, substance use, or homelessness. This investment will help to keep Canadians safe and healthy with the health care supports they need.
Prince Edward Island will continue its efforts to support the needed capacity in the health care systems, including mental health and problematic substance use supports, in priority areas including, but not limited to:
- supporting a continuum of care for those experiencing challenges related to mental health, substance use, or homelessness;
- enhancing capacity for preventative care and to respond to any future outbreaks;
- enhancing delivery of virtual care and other alternative delivery of health services;
- addressing backlogs, including delayed procedures and deferred services;
- enhancing protocols for infection prevention and control;
- providing access to human resource supports, including short-term training needs;
- supporting health care innovation and rapid deployment to health care sectors;
- operating psychiatric urgent care clinics to reduce strain on the emergency departments and limit potential exposure to infection;
- making additional counseling and support services available, including building capacity for virtual delivery of risk assessments, stabilization, counseling, programming, safety planning, and connection to services;
- providing safe facilities and accommodations, including renovation or retrofitting of spaces as well as additional cleaning and sanitizing protocols;
- supporting transportation and delivery services to meet essential needs; and
- enhancing communications and community outreach.
Canadians receiving long-term care, home care, and palliative care are at an increased risk of more severe cases of COVID-19. As the economy restarts, it is important to have continued protections and supports in place for seniors, and provide health and social supports to other vulnerable populations.
The Government of Canada will provide $740 million to support costs over the next six to eight months for measures aimed at controlling and preventing infections. This could include addressing staffing issues, in long-term care, home care, and palliative care facilities and services and other vulnerable populations.
Prince Edward Island will continue to support its vulnerable populations, including in areas such as, but not limited to:
- supporting nursing homes and community care facilities (public and private), palliative care, the provision of home care, residential services, inmates in correctional facilities, persons with disabilities, individuals experiencing homelessness and individuals with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems, including services delivered by community partners;
- investing in capital and technology;
- investing in human resource priorities and non-wage workplace supports, including profession development;
- enhancing one-on-one services and respite support;
- supporting transportation and delivery services to meet essential needs;
- providing safe facilities, accommodations, and access to self-isolation, including renovation or retrofitting of spaces as well as additional cleaning and sanitizing protocols; and
- enhancing communications and community outreach.
Municipalities and transit
Municipalities are on the front lines of a safe restart of the economy, and need to continue to put in place appropriate precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and manage public spaces and critical services, like public transit.
The Government of Canada will contribute up to $2 billion to support municipalities with COVID-19 operating costs for the next six to eight months. Provincial and territorial governments will continue to support municipalities, and will cost-match federal supports with investments flowed this fiscal year for operating costs.
In addition, the Government of Canada will also contribute more than $2.3 billion to support any additional contributions by participating provinces or territories for public transit operating costs.
Funds for municipal and transit investments will be cost-shared 50/50. Contributions for municipal supports will recognize provincial and territorial operational investments flowed from April 1, 2020. This will include the roughly $28 million in funding budgeted by Prince Edward Island to support municipal operations during the fiscal year 2020-2021. Funding to municipalities will not result in the claw back of other forms of planned municipal assistance.
Prince Edward Island will use these funds to:
- support municipalities for operating costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and response including those associated with the full range of local services, precautions for public access, personal protective equipment, technology enhancements, additional cleaning and sanitizing protocols, enhanced communication and community outreach;
- safely deliver core local services provided by the province within municipalities as part of the response to COVID-19; and
- support adjustments required for safe public transit by working through the public-private partnership arrangement on public transit.
Eligible recipients will include those as defined under the Federal Gas Tax Fund in Prince Edward Island.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and non-health workers
COVID-19 has added significant pressure to the procurement and supply of PPE for essential health workers and others. Both orders of government have made significant investments in this area and worked collaboratively to ensure availability of the required equipment at all stage of the pandemic.
To support the restart of the economy, the Government of Canada will commit $4.05 billion to purchase PPE for national distribution to provinces and territories, $500 million to support the purchase of PPE for the non-health sector, and commit $3 billion directly to provinces and territories for previous and planned PPE investments. To facilitate future procurement, provinces and territories will regularly share relevant PPE-related data with the Government of Canada.
Child care for returning workers
The Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to ensure sufficient child care is available so parents can gradually return to the workplace.
The Government of Canada will provide $625 million to help the sector adapt to the COVID-19 environment and address the reduced availability of child care spaces and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic.
Prince Edward Island will continue to take measures to support up to 152 child care centres expand their capacity to ensure a sufficient supply of spaces for approximately 6,000 children including, but not limited to:
- hiring additional staff to meet requirements for higher staff to child ratios;
- providing staff supports including training;
- enhancing cleaning and sanitizing protocols;
- implementing adaptation measures including retrofitting and expansion as required;
- supporting the purchase of additional equipment and material required as a result of smaller group sizes and separation; and
- supporting the implementation of safety measures for staff, including personal protective equipment.
Pan-Canadian sick leave
To safely restart the economy, Canada must ensure that workers do not return to work if they have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.
To encourage workers to remain at home and seek public health advice if they are showing symptoms, the Government of Canada will fund and deliver a new temporary income support program. The estimated $1.1billion program will support workers who do not already have access to other paid sick leave. The federal government is responsible for all current and future costs of this program.
Prince Edward Island has taken measures to provide job protected leave for employees through an amendment to the Employment Standards Act, which came into force effective March 16, 2020. The amendment created an emergency leave of absence for employees who are prevented from performing their work duties because of an emergency.
Emergencies are defined to include public health emergencies as well as orders of the Chief Public Health Officer in Prince Edward Island, which currently include COVID-19 related measures that may prevent employees from attending work. The leave is open-ended and lasts as long as the employee is prevented from returning to work as a result of the emergency.
First Ministers believe this funding must quickly be put to use to protect the health and safety of our citizens and to truly help restart the economy. In order to do so, the funding for all priorities will be transferred to Prince Edward Island through a direct single transfer. This single transfer is in addition to a September transfer for the second tranche of testing funding and is apart from the federal Pan-Canadian Sick Leave program and federal in-kind spending for testing, contact tracing, and data management and PPE.
Prince Edward Island will continue to publically report on its actions, to maintain transparency and accountability to the citizens it serves.
Canadians have been well served by the strong, collaborative efforts demonstrated by First Ministers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. All First Ministers reaffirm their commitment to this approach, while they continue to address their top shared priority, the well-being and safety of all Canadians.
I look forward to the implementation of the Safe Restart Agreement and our continued collaboration.
Honourable Dennis King
Premier of Prince Edward Island
Appendix - Canada - Prince Edward Island Safe Restart Agreement Investment Details
- Testing, Contact Tracing, and Data Management
- Federal Investment ($M) - $4,282
- Allocation Details
- Per capita allocation;
- $3,000 cash transfer in two installments;
- $1,282 in transfers and federal support
- Prince Edward Island Allocation ($M) - $12.540
- Health Care System Capacity
- Federal Investment ($M) - $1,200
- Allocation Details - Per capita cash transfer
- Prince Edward Island Allocation ($M) - $ 5.016
- Vulnerable Populations
- Federal Investment ($M) - $740
- Allocation Details - Per capita cash transfer
- Prince Edward Island Allocation ($M) - $3.093
- Municipalities and Transit
- Federal Investment ($M) - $2,000 (municipalities) + $2,300 (transit)
- Allocation Details
- Municipalities - per capita cash transfer, cost shared at 50/50;
- Transit - cash transfer as applicable, cost shared at 50/50;
- Provincial and territorial operational investments flowed from April 1, 2020 are recognized
- Prince Edward Island Allocation ($M) - $ 8.360
- Federal Investment ($M) - $7,550
- Allocation Details
- $3,000 per capita cash transfer;
- $4,550 in federally-delivered support
- Prince Edward Island Allocation ($M) - $ 12.540
- Child Care for Returning Workers
- Federal Investment ($M) - $625
- Allocation Details - Base ($2M/jurisdiction) plus per capita cash transfer
- Prince Edward Island Allocation ($M) - $4.504
- Pan-Canadian Sick Leave
- Federal Investment ($M) - $1,100
- Allocation Details - Federal Delivery
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